The Room

30/04 > 22:00 & 23:00
1/05 > 23:00

Marriage: the legal union of a man and woman."An arresting experience, a pivotal element around which society rotates." Born in Cairo in 1974, painter and performer Amal El Kenawy offers dazzling visions of this arresting attachment. Beneath the ribbon are the ties and the straps; beneath the bride's veil, the distortion of an identity being diluted into oblivion. Alone on stage, the visual artist embroiders adornments imposed by this metamorphosis directly onto flesh. Images in her mind file past on the walls of her room, a silent metaphor of subjection and gradual dilution.

Auteur, acteur, regie, directeur fotografie, montage/Auteur, actrice, mise en scène, directeur de la photographie, montage/Author, actor, director, photo director, editor : Amal El Kenawy

Live muziek door / Musique live par /live music by: Thomas Jeker & Amal El Kenawy

Elektronische contrabas/Contrebasse électronique/Electronic double bass: Thomas Jeker
Productie/Production : young arab theater fund

Producent/Producteur/Producer : Tark Abo El Fuoh

Opgedragen aan/Dédié à/Dedicated to : my mother

Met dank aan/Remerciements à/Special thanks to : Abdel Ghany El Kenawy, Nahla El Kenawy, Yassen & Shady El Noshokaty

Presentatie/Présentation/Presentation : Les Brigittines, Maison du Spectacle – La Bellone, KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

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Cairo, March 2004

I cannot speak of my work or myself without mentioning my brother, partner and mentor, Abdel Ghani El Kenawy. Since 1996, we have cooperated on nine major projects involving sculpture, installations and video installations. The Room is my first solo work, and even so Abdel Ghani helped me put it together. He has been a major influence and inspiration on me since I was little, and I have learned more from him than I did during my formal studies.

In the work Abdel Ghani and I did together, we focused primarily on the general laws of nature, the physical laws that unite everything that exists. In doing so, we explored what lies behind the form, seeking the essence, searching for the perfection embedded in the harmony of form and function.

Then I stopped working for a year and half to take care of my son, Yasin. The hiatus was a turning point. I paused to ask: Why do I work and what does art mean to me? I had the luxury of soul searching. Before, I used to create works that refer to existence and infinity, to transformation, to the fusion-taking place within the general entirety of things. Suddenly, my eyes opened to what is inside me, and I concluded that understanding couldn’t take place without self-knowledge.

It wouldn’t help to categorize the work I have already done. I let the concept lead me to the medium of expression. Preparation for The Room consisted of writing semi-daily notes accompanied with some illustrations. I tried to map out the connection between the physical-clinical existence of humans and their private world, explore the world where reality blends with dream, imagination with memory. My aim was to keep track of the dialect between the surface and what lies beneath. This is how I came to sense the existence of a metaphorical room that hides behind the physical body, a room that reflects the much bigger room outside, the one representing society, its customs, its conditioning.

By the time I started the actual work on The Room, everything had come into sharp focus. The music was no longer as hazy as mist, but as powerful as lines of light, surging forth in parallel before positioning themselves to converge. The light glows, forming a structure, then dissipates once again, vanishing in space.

I no longer think of what I do as work, but as a way of sensing life and exploring its meaning without affectation or fear. The Room is not a technical project, but a personal way of breathing.

Amal El Kenawy

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